By Mamadou Dem
Senior officials of the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA) yesterday, 23 February 2017 appeared at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court charged with two criminal counts of ‘Conspiracy to commit felony’ and ‘Murder’, contrary to the laws of The Gambia.
The accused persons are Yankuba Badjie, former Director General, Louis Gomez, alias Leese, former Deputy Director, Saikou Omar Jeng, alias Sir Jeng, former Director of Operations, Haruna Suso, Yusupha Jammeh, Lamin Lang Sanyang, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Babucarr Sallah.
According to the particulars of offence on count one, the aforementioned accused persons on or about the 15th day of April, 2016 at the NIA headquarters, in the city of Banjul, conspired amongst themselves and took part in the murder of one Mr. Solo Sandeng and thereby committed an offence.
Prosecutors alleged on count two that all accused persons on or about the 15th day of April, 2016 at the NIA headquarters, in the city of Banjul, jointly murdered one Mr. Solo Sandeng and thereby committed an offence.
All accused persons pleaded not guilty as charged and were consequently remanded at the Mile II prison pending their appearances before the high court.
Prior to remanding the accused persons, Police Prosecutor Sub-Inspector Alpha Badjie said “since the second count is a capital offence, in which this court lacks the jurisdiction to try or hear, we apply pursuant to section 62 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to transfer the matter to High Court.”
Sub-Inspector Badjie further submitted that since the alleged offences occurred at the same time, he is applying for the matter to be transferred before the superior court, adding that the accused persons be remanded pending their appearance before the said court.
Emmanuel E Chime, attorney for both Yankuba Badjie and Louis Gomez (1st and 2nd accused) said “We will make the necessary applications at the High Court.”
The trial magistrate earlier said to the prosecutor “We do have jurisdiction to hear murder cases.”
Responding, the prosecutor told the court that they (police) have received ‘Practice Directions’ from the Chief Justice that murder cases should be transferred to high court.
However, Magistrate Njie ruled that for the purpose of convenience, the matter shall be transferred to the said court.